When I was growing up I had no idea that you could actually purchase pecans at the grocery store. Since my grandpa had a pecan tree that produced tons of pecans, I thought that pecans were just something that existed in large ziplock bags in the freezer. If only. Because pecans were always in plentiful supply, I put them in everything from cookies to casseroles just because they were there. Now that I buy my own pecans, I’m a bit more judicious with my use. These tiny pies really showcase the greatness of pecans without requiring you to buy a ton. I only learned about these recently, and after some quick googling, I’m really shocked – the recipe is everywhere and basically doesn’t change much except for quantity. It’s a classic that you might find in an old Junior League cookbook, but probably overlooked (like I did) because you weren’t quite sure what it was. Pecan Tassies are not to be overlooked in the three weeks I’ve known about the recipe, I’ve made them three times.
makes 24 (easily doubled to 48), adapted from multiple iterations of the same recipe.
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3 oz. cream cheese
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 T melted butter
1 tsp vanilla (or almond) extract
1/4 tsp salt (a bit more if you’re using unsalted butter)
1. Preheat the oven to 325. Locate mini-muffin pan (this usually takes me 15 minutes). Beat the butter and cream cheese together for a minute or two until combined. Add in the flour and beat until it forms a soft dough. The dough will NOT be like pie dough, it has an odd, firm elastic consistency. Roll the dough into 24 small balls – about an inch in diameter. Smash the ball between your palms to make a flat disc and place them into the ungreased mini-muffin pan. Use your fingers to make sure it comes all the way up the sides. They don’t need to look perfect, but if you have holes the filling will drip and you’ll have a hard time removing them from the pan.
2. Using about half a cup of the nuts, place a spoonful into each individual pie. Melt the butter and whisk in the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Pour the mixture over the nuts, putting a bit less than a tablespoon in each. I melt the butter in a glass pyrex measuring cup with a spout and whisk the ingredients together in there to make pouring less messy, but you could spoon it in, too. Top the tassies with the remaining pecans.
3. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are set and the pecans are toasty. Let the tassies cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing. I use a toothpick to pop them out. Enjoy, make more!